Tags: mcdowell | fcc | lloyd

FCC Official Calls Diversity Czar's Views 'Troubling'

Thursday, 15 Oct 2009 09:56 PM

Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell is criticizing statements by FCC Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd that he says are “troubling” indications of a penchant for regulating free speech.

In his 2006 book “Prologue to a Farce: Communication and Democracy in America,” Lloyd wrote that public broadcasting outlets should be funded at a level “commensurate with or above those spending levels at which commercial operations are funded.”

He said the funds should come from “license fees charged to commercial broadcasters” – the same “commercial broadcasters" that would have to compete with these public broadcasting outlets, CNSNews.com reported.

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“I find such ideas troubling,” McDowell told CNSNews.com. “Certainly, he has a right to express them. The chairman, as CEO of the commission, has, I guess, a right to employ him. And I’ve been told by him and the chairman that he’s working on other matters not related to those issues.”

But McDowell said citizens should vigilantly watch for any attempts to make Lloyd’s ideas official federal policy.

“We should continue to see if there is any effort to make such ideas commission policy. And I hope at the end of our process, that would be brought to light and there would be opportunity for public comment and scrutiny,” said McDowell.

“I think that we should always remain vigilant whenever a regulatory agency can impact freedom of speech,” he said. “So as we go forward with our media ownership and localism proceedings next year, I think everyone should watch very carefully what the FCC attempts to do.”

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